About Me

CV  |  My Office Hours  |  Invited Appearances & Speeches  |  Recommended Book List

1. ME

I am not on Facebook. 🙄

However, I do understand wanting to know a little bit about your professor before we begin. So at the behest of one of my psychologist friends, I took the Myers-Briggs test. It turns out I am an “INFJ” — the rarest of 16 personality types. That means I'm a nurturing, decisive, value-driven idealist. I'm motivated by causes, like justice and wisdom, rather than material pursuits like celebrity or wealth. I design my life around my passions and those who share in them. Most importantly, I’m drawn to authentic experiences and sincere people (see: Existentialism). I’ve been told I’m a “good listener.” And, when everything clicks, I tend to make loyal and lasting friendships. INFJs tend to wear our feelings on our sleeve, but that also means we’re emotionally present for others. Professionally, INFJs are an odd mix of dreamer/perfectionist. We dream big, wanna see the world, then we make a decisive plan for success and generally see it through! So I give the people I care about — so long as they’re kind — everything I possibly can. 😊

Medieval Irish Cathedral

So what does that mean for my students?

If you want to relate to me, show me what you're passionate about! Be a grateful listener. And when we talk, be sincere. Being a philosophy prof grants me an incisive awareness that folks generally can't bluff past. On that: recognize that I’m going to be different than you in some key ways, and that this is not only ok — it’s actually a great oppertunity for you to learn and grow! Know that your kindness will always be returned with kindness. I LOVE being a professor! It's my purpose, my identity, and it fits me like a glove. I love nurturing and making personal connections with students. I live for helping them make the most of their lives! So when we talk, know that I genuinely care. This doesn't mean I'll bend the rules for you; favoritism is an injustice to others! But I will work at least as hard as you to ensure your success! 👍

Your interest and time will always be appreciated, and your effort with me will always be justly rewarded.


2. WHY

Being value-driven means my values determine my actions. I value beauty: so I seek out unusual, high-quality experiences. I value justice: so I work hard to make sure everyone in my circle is treated fairly. And I value wisdom: so I strive to show others how thinking well changes everything for the better! If you value something enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen. If it’s not happening, then you probably value something else more (e.g. you decide to lose weight because you value your health, but you stay on the couch because you value laziness just a little bit more). 🤷‍♂️

If you can figure out your personal “why,” then you’re on your way to “knowing yourself” — a key mission of philosophy!


3. WHAT

Ozsvath

Again, I think big and work big. I’ve painted landscapes in the Arabian desert. I’ve won art scholarships. I once helped put together a Western film conference in the Utah canyonlands. I brought Christmas presents to a war-torn school in Sarajevo. I’ve toured the Sydney Opera House. I’ve been published by Australian and American universities. My first peer-reviewed book chapter is now on Amazon. I've earned several academic awards, including one for feminist research. I’ve been an invited speaker at synagogues, churches, and mosques. I studied the Holocaust for a year under a renowned survivor. I’ve served as the board president of a 130-year old congregation. I’m working on my 5th college degree. I’ve been all over the world. And now I’m here — to teach you. 😊

My mentor
Holocaust Survivor Dr. Zsuzi Oszváth

I’ve been teaching at the college level since 2008. I was a graduate instructor at Florida State for 4 years, where I taught Multicultural Film, Modern Humanities, and World Religions (see: RateMyProfessor). I was also an assistant for courses on the Holocaust and Islamic Culture. I joined the faculty of TJC in 2012, where I’ve continued to teach World Religions and also teach PhilosophyHonors PhilosophyEthics, and Humanities. I also now serve as the Adjunct Professor of Islam at UT Tyler. When I’m not in class, I’m usually at my office or having coffee at the Starbucks on campus. 


4. HOW

I live for the conversation! Find me in Starbucks. Come by my office hours (make an appointment first!). Take a walk with me across campus. When we’re in class, be a part of our dialogue. We need you! The world needs you! 🌎 I can’t tell you exactly how you’ll contribute your part; that’s something you'll have to decide. As the philosopher Sartre remarked, “We are doomed to be free.” Having said that, I hope your time with me is a positive experience and that it will encourage you to use your gifts to help others.

If you’re taking one of my courses, these are the required books. If you’ve already passed my course, congrats! Here’s a list of recommended books to read after your introduction! Also, because it was asked for, I've put together something of a philosophical canon of books for those interested in even deeper study. Once you’ve read all of those, you may go here.


5. And now, James Lipton’s famous questionaire from Inside the Actor’s Studio.

• What is your favorite word?
Hineini. It’s Hebrew, meaning, “Here I am for you.” 🤗

• What is your least favorite word?
Just. As in “that’s just how it is.” Really? 🤔

• What turns you on creatively?
An inspiring film, like from the WachowskisAronofsky, or Malick
😍

• What turns you off?
Avarice. Greedy social climbers. 🤑

• What is your favorite curse word?
The Yiddish word, Verkakte. 
🤷

• What sound or noise do you love?
Erik Satie’s Gymnopédie No. 1. 
🎹

• What sound or noise do you hate?
A violent mob. 
💢

• What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Filmmaker. 🎥

• What profession would you not like to do?
Anyplace where the struggle is unfulfilling and underpaid — big box stores, fast food, retail, etc. 🏬

• If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
That all the world’s pain and suffering was worth it. 
🙋